Visegrád Group countries coordinate positions
By Jakub Iwaniuk in Warsaw | Monday 26 March 2012
The regional development ministers of the Visegrád Group countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) and Slovenia are opposed to any shift of Cohesion Fund allocations to the Connecting Europe Facility
(1). They announced their opposition in a joint statement, adopted on 22 March in Prague, after an informal meeting at which they coordinated their position on cohesion policy for the years 2014-2020.
“We have reached a key moment in the negotiations. […] It is very important for us to undertake collective actions on matters that are important for us, to help make our voice better heard in Europe,” commented Poland’s Deputy Regional Development Minister, Marceli Niezgoda.
The statement also addresses other financial issues, such as VAT eligibility, the need for greater aid to regions that become ineligible for convergence and the automatic decommitment (N+2) rule. “I am pleased that within the Visegrád plus Slovenia forum we agree on the need to make regional policy more results-based and to increase its effectiveness in the future,” added Niezgoda.
Poland will take up the Visegrád Group’s presidency in July 2012. Niezgoda noted that this presidency’s agenda will emphasise the need for common actions by the group at EU level to influence the cohesion policy reform proposals.(1) This mechanism is set to allocate €50 billion up until 2020 for investments in European transport, energy and digital technology networks.